FROZEN team sets Musical Rom-com series at HULU
NBCU entering Regional Sports Streaming biz / NY TIMES buys WORDLE / MADDOW leaves MSNBC show for 2 months
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on TUESDAY February 1, 2022.
Where am I alone in still feeling kinda bummed about Hoda Kotb and her fianceé breaking up after 8 years together?
AND: “Grease” fans - here is your cast for the PARAMOUNT+ prequel series “Rise of the Pink Ladies”, taking place 4 years before the original movie, now shooting in pure throwback Americana fashion in CANADA. Although I’ll always be #TeamZinone
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
UNIVERSAL sets Demi Moore & Margaret Qually (“Maid”) to lead pic “Substance”
Described only as an “explosive feminist take on body horror” so… take that as ya like. WORKING TITLE is producing.
French director Coralie Fargeat is writing & directing here, will shoot in France this Summer. /Deadline
FOCUS FEATURES picks up Bobby Farrelly directed pic “Champions”
Woody Harrelson and Kaitlin Olson starring, about a hotheaded minor league basketball coach sentenced to community service and forced to coach a SPECIAL OLYMPICS team (based on a 2018 Spanish movie).
Several actors with intellectual disabilities filled out much of the cast, pic just finished shooting.
The Farrelly’s previously produced a film set in the SPECIAL OLYMPICS realm, 2005’s Johnny Knoxville pic “The Ringer”. /Deadline
20TH CENTURY sets Chris Messina & Sophie Thatcher (young “Natalie” in “Yellowjackets”) to star in Stephen King adaptation for HULU
It’s the King short story “The Boogeyman” from his 1978 “The Night Shift” collection, about a teen sibling pair reeling from the death of their mother who feel an evil presence in their house… but have trouble getting grieving dad to notice.
This will be the 10th movie made from the 20 story “Night Shift” collection… but it’s gonna be tough to top “Maximum Overdrive”. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
THE BEATLES rooftop concert from the DISNEY+ “Get Back” documentary took in $500k from just 70 IMAX screens on Sunday. It’ll also play in IMAX again the weekend of Feb 11-13. /THR
LIONSGATE sets Judy Blume movie “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” for Sept 30 release in theaters. /Deadline
📺 THE TV SET
Rachel Maddow peace’ing out from MSNBC for “several weeks” after this week
When she signed her big new deal there last year… speculation was that she would depart doing a daily show as soon as this Spring. But - sounds like she’s gettin’ a head start.
There will be a series of guest hosts so let the focus groups begin, and she will be back in the Spring circa April - but there
may will be more absences in the future.
She will now focus on a new podcast project, and film at UNIVERSAL/FOCUS. /Deadline
HULU orders Musical Rom-com series from “Frozen” creative team & others
Called “Up Here” - about a couple falling in love in 1999 NYC, as they navigate their respective worlds of mental memories, obsessions, fears, and fantasies that try and get in the way. Although there better be a good MOOMBA joke in there somewhere or I’m out.
8 episodes, will shoot this Summer.
Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”) directing, Steven Levinson (”tick, tick… Boom!” movie) writing with Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (”The Carmichael Show”) and the “Frozen” duo of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez who will also handle the tunes. /Deadline
WBTV signs “Ted Lasso” co-star Brett Goldstein to overall deal
Sudeikis has famously said he only intends to do 3 seasons of WB TV-produced series, so… gotta think this gives some indication of a way forward for a Season 4 - ”Ted Lasso: The #RFK Years” anyone?
Brett is already co-producing an upcoming show produced by WBTV for APPLE TV+ with “Lasso” co-showrunner Bill Lawrence, starring Jason Segel. /THR
ALSO IN TV
JANET JACKSON docu Part 1 got 3 Million viewers across LIFETIME & A&E Friday night. /THR
“Red Notice” director Rawson Marshall-Thurber to write & direct pilot for “Dungeons & Dragons” TV series for eONE. No network / streamer announced, PARAMOUNT has a “D&D” movie with Chris Pine in post-production. /Deadline
STARZ adds Jennifer Garner, James Marsden to “Party Down” revival, with original cast returning save for Lizzy Caplan who has 2 other jobs and can’t make it. /THR
FOOD NETWORK signs YOUTUBERS Rhett & Link to do a series called “The Taste Buds”, talking to folks behind some of America’s favorite food brands. /Variety
IN THE HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE SUITE
IMAGINE hires NETFLIX exec Kristen Zolner as Head of TV. Replaces Samie Kim Falvey who left in the Fall. /Deadline
PARAMOUNT PICS EVP of International Marketing Cameron Saunders departs. No next destination indicated. /Deadline
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
NBCU looking to create Regional Sports Streaming service
It would exist for customers in markets where they operate NBC SPORTS Networks (Chicago, Boston, SF etc - they also own part of SNY in NYC) and is in the works to launch later this year.
No material details or official announcement… other than they’ve promoted Valerie Dobson to head it up as “Chairman of Local”. She reports in to Mark Lazarus, NBCU Chairman of Television & Streaming.
Essentially - they’re looking to do what SINCLAIR is attempting with their regional BALLYS SPORTS NETWORKS (which formerly had Fox Sports Networks branding - SINCLAIR
overpaid bought them from FOX when they had to offload them in the DISNEY deal).
SINCLAIR recently secured local streaming rights for the 16 NBA teams they carry, but still no official streaming announcement there either.
Dealers choice on how or… if all this NBC SPORTS NETWORK STREAMING would work with PEACOCK. /THR
HBOMAX launching in 15 more countries on March 8
Mostly Eastern Europe, although PORTUGAL and NETHERLANDS also on the list. Will bring the distro list from 46 countries to 61.
Plans in the works to add 5 more incl GREECE & TURKEY “later this year”. /THR
NY TIMES buys WORDLE for $1 to $3 Million-ish
Kinda depends who ya ask on the exact price… but it’ll “initially” remain free to play… just expect TIMES to be the word of the day a lot more often (that’s how it works right?).
It went from 90 users a day at launch in October to in the Millions by mid-January. Hey just like this newsletter! /NY TIMES
SIRIUS XM’s Q4 was eh to… not great
Gained 55k subscribers, but last Q4 (2020) the gain was 8X at 407k.
They also lost 286k free promo users, so overall a loss of 231k users from Oct thru Dec. Total SIRIUSXM subscribers stand at 34 Million, 2 Million of which are free promo customers.
They addded 1+ Million paying customers in 2021, but are down 700k promo customers.
Subsidiary PANDORA also dropped another 130k customers, 2X the loss from last Q4 (2020). They now stand at 6.9 Million paying subs total. /THR
LEGENDARY sells stake for $760 Million to APOLLO private equity
CHINA company WANDA bought LEGENDARY for $3.5 Billion about 6 years ago… but has been looking to sell or at least lessen their stake for a while.
WANDA will still own an undisclosed majority stake, but now APOLLO has a TBD cut, and LEGENDARY management will also gain some equity in the company… but no real breakdown of the particulars.
LEGENDARY releases their films through WB (“Dune”, “Godzilla vs Kong”) who also invests in portions of their productions (I think 25%), but LEGENDARY is in business with a lot of folks overall in TV. /Deadline
SONY Interactive buys video game publishers BUNGIE for $3.6 Billion
BUNGIE created “Halo”… but MICROSOFT now has the rights to that one, so SONY still has nothing to do with that game.
But basically - Video Game producers are the hot acquisition targets of 2022… just as Movie & TV production companies were in 2021 #HelloSunshine.
Well. At far, far bigger prices. /THR
ALSO IN MEDIA
AT&T chooses spin-off approach to WARNER MEDIA - DISCOVERY deal. So AT&T shareholders will get about 1 share of WBD for every 4 shares of AT&T they own.
AT&T will own 71% of WBD once the process is done in Q2. T shares were down about 4% on the announcement pre-market, as the T dividend is also being cut.
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
Lotta buying the dip activity yesterday.
SPOTIFY +13% ($196.26) Who knew there were so many Rogan fans on Wall Street? 🤔. But also this 👇
NETFLIX +11% ($427.14) An analyst pointed out that oh right, dominant streaming companies have a lot of upside, specifically $SPOT and $NFLX.
ROBLOX +13% ($65.86)
VIMEO +12% ($14.65)
PINTEREST +10% ($29.56)
ROKU +8% ($164.05)
SNAP +7% ($32.54)
TWITTER +6% ($37.51)
AMC THEATERS +6% ($16.06)
AMC NETWORKS +6% ($42.63)
IMAX +5% ($17.25)
CINEMARK THEATERS +5% ($15.10)
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
GOOGLE /YOUTUBE earnings at 5p
HBOMAX & HULU “Nightmare Alley” - Stream here
FOX “The Real Dirty Dancing” - at 9p
BRAVO “RHONJ” at 9p
HBO “Terry Bradshaw: Going Deep” documentary - at 9p
NBC “Late Night with Seth Meyers” - Letterman visits to commemorate 40 years of “Late Night” on NBC.
AND: Chinese New Year Box Office Battle begins:
It made $1.2 Billion over the 6 day celebration in 2021.
This year has more covid lockdowns there, and the OLYMPICS starting later in the week.
But it also has a sequel to propaganda film “Battle at Lake Changjin”, the biggest Chinese movie of 2021 - gotta say they move fast over there.
It took in $100 Million in its first day. Three other movies took in around $30 Million each as well.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
NETFLIX“Texas Chainsaw Massacre” series. Premieres Fri Feb 18
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
January new release doldrums are extending into February.
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